CHARLOTTE, N.C., July 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In celebration of Belk's 125th anniversary this year, thousands of its associates completed improvement projects in more than 300 Title 1 elementary schools since the company's 125 Days of Service program began on March 11. The participating schools serve low-income, at-risk students in communities throughout Belk's 16-state Southern footprint.
More than 10,000 associates from Belk stores, distribution centers and division and corporate offices volunteered approximately 21,000 hours to paint classrooms, build bookcases, renovate playgrounds, organize book drives, and beautify school grounds with murals, picnic tables, and landscaping at the schools. The hours of service contributed by volunteers, valued at nearly $500,000, will benefit approximately 131,000 students who attend the schools.
More than 8,000 books were collected and donated to the schools, and nearly 5,500 "magic reading carpets" were created for kids to sit on during story hours. Volunteers also planted trees, built 315 picnic tables, assembled 342 bookshelves and produced over 6,000 canvas art paintings for school decorations.
Additionally, Belk donated clothing, cosmetics and other merchandise to provide "makeovers" to 175 principals in the participating schools.
The results of the 125 Days of Service are the culmination of Belk's first companywide community service program conducted in partnership with Points of Light, the largest organization in the world dedicated to volunteer service. A special ceremony to thank associate volunteers and celebrate the results of the program was held today at Belk's corporate office in Charlotte following service projects at Reid Park Academy elementary school.
"We're grateful to our associates, community partners, and Points of Light for their support," said Jessica Graham, Belk vice president of communications and community relations. "This company-wide service initiative was a first for Belk designed to reinforce our core value and rich legacy of community giving. It created new connections with schools that will enable us to build on our support and involvement in the future."
"By choosing to celebrate their 125th anniversary through 125 Days of Service, Belk and its employees have done more than improve schools in the communities where they live and work," said Michelle Nunn, CEO of Points of Light. "Through their commitment, energy and enthusiasm, they have made a lasting impact on the lives of our youngest citizens, demonstrating the power of volunteer service to the students who will learn, play and grow for years to come in the schools Belk employees helped transform."
Stephanie Downey, principal of one of the participating schools – Fredrick Douglass Elementary School in Winchester, Va. – said, "We can't begin to express how grateful we are that you came to Fredrick Douglass and donated your time and efforts for our school. The bookcases, picnic table, painted canvases and floor mats will be enjoyed by all... The experience has also taught our students how wonderful it is to reach out and help others in our community."
About Belk, Inc.
Charlotte, N.C.-based Belk, Inc. (www.belk.com) is the nation's largest family owned and operated department store company with 301 Belk stores located in 16 Southern states. Founded in 1888 by William Henry Belk in Monroe, N.C., the company is in the third generation of Belk family leadership and has been committed to community involvement since its inception. Each year, Belk gives a portion of its pretax income back to the communities it serves. In the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2013, the company and its associates, customers and vendors, donated more than $19 million to those communities. Belk stores and belk.com offer a wide assortment of top national brands and private label fashion apparel, shoes and accessories for the entire family along with top name cosmetics, a wedding registry and a large selection of quality merchandise for the home. To connect with Belk go to: Belk Get Connected.
About Points of Light
Points of Light – the world's largest organization dedicated to volunteer service – mobilizes millions of people to take action that is changing the world. Through affiliates in 250 cities and partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages 4 million volunteers in 30 million hours of service each year. We put people at the center of change. For more information, go to www.pointsoflight.org.
SOURCE Belk, Inc.